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Gender and Leadership in Education

Women Achieving Against the Odds

Kay Fuller and Judith Harford

The under-representation of women in leadership positions in educational settings is a widely acknowledged, complex phenomenon that seems to persist, despite the fact that teaching as a profession is dominated by women. Over recent decades, scholars have investigated the factors contributing towards this under-representation, with a particular focus on the personal, organisational and social/cultural levels.

This volume has been compiled in honour of Marianne Coleman, Emeritus Reader in Educational Leadership and Management at the Institute of Education, University College London. She is widely regarded as one of the most significant scholars globally in the field of gender and educational leadership, forging the research agenda and mentoring some of the scholars who contribute essays here. Amongst the key questions the book asks are: Why does society continue to accept male leaders as the norm? What barriers do women who seek leadership positions face? What supports do women require in order to encourage them to pursue leadership positions? How do women working in leadership positions conceive of their role as leaders? How might women’s educational leadership be best supported at an institutional level?

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Jacky Lumby - Culture and Otherness in Gender Studies: Building on Marianne Coleman’s Work


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Culture and Otherness in Gender Studies: Building on Marianne Coleman’s Work

Those studying gender inequality grapple with how to position themselves. They are typically women, but also of a particular race, culture and history, moreover are researchers reflecting the ontological and epistemological predilections of their academic training. Positioning raises a range of challenges in relation to the degree of self-awareness and the nature of ‘otherness’ perceived in those studied. There are home contexts where distance between researcher and those researched may not be considered an issue; in Pillay’s (2011: 657) words, the focus is ‘the not other’, though such a distinction may be illusory. Though many accept that ‘gender congruity is not enough to overcome ethnic incongruity’ (Bhopal 2001: 280), cultural or geographic congruity may not offer the inroad to understanding another that is supposed. There are more evident issues of distance when researchers present findings and sometimes recommendations about women with characteristics and experience different to their own or who lead in distant locations, as in international and comparative work.

Such research is often pursued by those from the Anglophone world, in part because these researchers have access to sufficient resources to undertake international projects and in part because international funding and sponsoring agencies may, unjustifiably, give greater credence to researchers and knowledge with provenance in an Anglophone setting. Engaging with the nature of distance and the ethical, methodological and political issues raised is central to researching gender....

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